Phoenix (East Indiaman)

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Numerous ships with the name Phoenix, for the constellation or the mythical bird, have sailed for the British East India Company (EIC) between 1680 and 1821:

Merchant vessels, including East Indiamen[edit]

  • Phoenix, rated at 380/450 tons burthen (bm), of 90 crew and 30 guns. Made three voyages to Madras, Bengal, Bantam, or China between 1671 and 1680. She was lost off the Isles of Scilly on 11 January 1680 while on her fourth voyage.[1] She made two voyages to Madras, Bengal, Persia, and what is now Indonesia before being lost near Cape Comorin
  • Phoenix served the EIC between 1685 and 1687.[2] She may have been the armed merchantman Phoenix that assisted the Royal Navy in 1689 at the siege of Derry.
  • Phoenix, rated at 400 tons, of 80 crew and 24-30 guns, launched November 1700 for Sir Henry Johnson, Blackwall.[3] Made two voyages before being sold out of EIC service in 1709.[Note 1]
  • Phoenix, rated at 400 tons (bm), launched in 1708 by Sir Henry Johnson, Blackwall.[3] She was lost on 13 April 1710 while on her first voyage.[Note 2]
  • Phoenix, of 800 tons (bm) and launched in 1785, made six voyages for the EIC between 1786 and 1802. She was sent out to India in 1803 for the local coastal trade.[5]
  • Phoenix, launched in 1790 by Randall & Brent, Rotherhithe. She made one voyage to Madras and Bengal between 1799 and 1800 as an extra ship (i.e., on short-term charter) for the EIC. She was condemned in 1812.
  • Phoenix, of 818 or 861194 tons (bm), launched on 3 December 1804, made six voyages to Madras and Bengal between 1805 and 1819.[6] On 31 December 1804 Captain Ramsden received a letter of marque that listed Phoenix as being of 861 tons burthen, having a crew of 101 men, and carrying twenty 18-pounder guns and ten 18-pounder carronades.[7] Her registration was cancelled on 25 September 1821 after she was broken up.[8]
  • Phoenix was launched in 1810. The EIC chartered her to make one voyage to Madras and Bengal between 1820 and 1821.[9] She then made one voyage transporting convicts to Van Diemen's Land in 1822. She was wrecked at Simon's Bay, South Africa, in July 1829.

Licensed ships[edit]

After the EIC lost in 18i3 its monopoly on the Britain-East Indies trade, the EIC licensed other vessels to trade with the East Indies. The following three vessels are such licensed vessels, though it does not appear that any of them ever carried a cargo for the EIC.

  • Phoenix, of 590 tons (bm), launched in 1798. She made one voyage transporting convicts to Australia in 1824 and was broken up in 1837.
  • Phoenix, of 478 tons (bm), launched in India in 1799 and wrecked on 1 March 1816 on Maranilla Reef while sailing from Havana to Nassau, Bahamas.[10]
  • Phoenix, launched at Philadelphia in 1811, captured and sold as a prize to W. Browne & Co., who retained the name.[10]

Bombay Marine, and the Bombay and Bengal Pilot Services[edit]

The EIC also maintained its own navy, the Bombay Marine. The following Bombay Marine vessels bore the name Phoenix.

  • Phoenix, a ketch acquired or launched in 1673 and sold to buyers at Bombay in 1679.[11]
  • Phoenix, a sloop that the EIC's governor of Bencoolen used in 1710.[11]
  • Phoenix, a schooner that the Bombay Pilot Service used and sold on 30 April 1759 for breaking up.[11]
  • Phoenix, a schooner of 113 tons (bm) that the Bombay Dockyard launched in 1667, or 1770 for the Bengal Pilot Service, and that was sold to local buyers in June 1778.[11][12]
  • Phoenix, agent vessel, of 181 tons (bm), launched 1808 at Kidderpore and sold 18 October 1820.[13]

See also[edit]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ The National Archives (United Kingdom) conflates this vessel's voyages with the voyage of her successor.[4]
  2. ^ The National Archives conflates this vessel's voyage with the voyages of her predecessor.[4]


  1. ^ National Archives: Phoenix (1) accessed 6 December 2014.
  2. ^ Hackman (2001), p.38.
  3. ^ a b Hackman (2001), p.169.
  4. ^ a b National Archives: Phoenix (2) accessed 6 December 2014.
  5. ^ Hackman (2001), p.169-70.
  6. ^ National Archives: Phoenix (5) accessed 6 December 2014.
  7. ^ Letter of Marque, 1793-1815; p.81.[1]
  8. ^ Hackman (2001), p.170.
  9. ^ National Archives: Phoenix (6) accessed 6 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b Hackman (2001), p.305.
  11. ^ a b c d Hackman (2001), p.337.
  12. ^ Phipps (1840), p.131.
  13. ^ Phipps (1840), p.133.


  • Hackman, Rowan (2001) Ships of the East India Company. (Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society). ISBN 0-905617-96-7
  • Hardy, Charles and Horatio Charles Hardy (1811) A register of ships, employed in the service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the year 1760 to 1810: with an appendix, containing a variety of particulars, and useful information interesting to those concerned with East India commerce. (London: Black, Parry, and Kingsbury).
  • Phipps, John Phipps (of the Master Attendant's Office, Calcutta) (1840) A Collection of Papers Relative to Ship Building in India ...: Also a Register Comprehending All the Ships ... Built in India to the Present Time .... (Scott). (Google eBook)